|Putting a brave face in it - an unlucky transport day in South London|
But of course, you cannot control train delays & cancellations. Pre-match problems at Westcombe Park and post-match problems at Maze Hill meant BRAPA suffered. We were ultra unlucky, on both occasions we had missed a perfectly good running train by seconds. Never mind, it's not like we won't be back in this part of the world next season, in all probability.
|Arriving at the amazing Black Friar at 10:15am|
And the day all started so well as the temperature started to soar, we reached our 'early opener' shortly after 10am to find Tom already there. I'd been very excited about this pub having read about it in my Heritage guide, and it didn't disappoint. Wood carved figures? Romanesque marble gold leaf ceiling decor? Just your run-of-the-mill pub really(!) The Spanish barman was very friendly too as I ordered a 'tea' based beer which was an acquired taste, but I just about liked. He told me it was a marmite beer, but he meant you'd love it or hate it, not that it was dark and vegetable extract. What did surprise me was that this is a Nicholson's pub, and surely the jewel in their crown though I have admittedly been in some great old examples of their pubs, None as good as this however. There was a large seating area at the side with lots of people eating breakfasts in the sun, it felt all very European and a far cry from the Dog & Gun at Wolverhampton. I explored the area reserved for dining and it was even more ornate, and I didn't care at all that I looked a total pub tourist.
|Me in triplicate at heritage pub classic, the Black Friar|
737. Royal Standard, Blackheath
And as I took my obligatory blog pub photo and waited for Tom and Dad to catch me up, I was surprised to find the gaggle of bar babes only just opening the pub. 11am in the GBG, 12 noon in reality. A faux pas by me as I should have checked Whatpub and the GBG amendments website, so we were lucky to arrive bang on 12 noon. Our luck wouldn't last. But for now, it did, as we entered a pub I'd describe as typically London. Clean, modern, bare boarded, trying to be rustic or shabby chic, possibly even a bit hipster, but in the end lacking a bit of charm and atmosphere, though not much to complain about. My Tim Taylor's Boltmaker (served in the type of pint glass I detest) was actually my favourite pint of the day. The beer range though was so scarily in line with a Nicholson's pub, especially the Black Friar, it was impossible to think that this WASN'T a Nicholson's itself but the layout, food menu, opening times, and general feel suggested otherwise. Still, quite a good pub whilst symptomatic of why London isn't my favourite place to BRAPA tick.
|A random man walks away from the still shut Royal Standard, 1159am!|
738. Pelton Arms, East Greenwich
Ben had actually made it here pre-match and his assessment was accurate, and fairly glowing. It looked great from the outside (see below) and it had a very 'real' happy community feel within, this was certainly above average London by my standards. It was so hot, sitting inside was a good idea and a pint of Brentwood Best was most welcome in the 30 degree heat. There was a nice outdoor area, but full of smokers in this heat, Dad rightly discouraged the idea. Again, the staff were really friendly and good. The barman who served me was a Charlton fan so I had to relive the agony for his benefit, but managed to mention that they were a bunch of soft southerners who caused their own injury time. One slight gripe was the range of beer. It was vast but so many were bog standard, it seemed a shame they hadn't gone with a more adventurous style, i.e. at least one stout or porter. Meanwhile, Tom was rightly unhappy to find bubbles (not Michael Jackson's monkey) in his blackcurrant. If we were suffering with the heat, I felt sorry for a bulldog just across from us who was sucking on a water bottle having finished his bowl. Uncannily as soon as we mentioned his potential for "BRAPA pub pet of the year", he wandered towards us to try and endear himself. Sadly, the BRAPA code of conduct looks unfavourably on such showboating behaviour! But a good effort all the same.
Trying to get the final pub 'tick' in at Deptford may have been tough anyway, but further train delays at Maze Hill meant we again cut or losses and headed back for Kings Cross, where there was time to be accosted by un merry Millers, have a swift half in Parcel Yard, and get a pasty and juice for the journey back.
|Pelton Arms - a very good pub at East Greenwich|
Despite the various unlucky traumas, this was still a classic example of a good football day out combined with a side portion of BRAPA.
"One Month Reverse Owl syndrome" (see the glossary if this makes no sense to you) is just about kicking in now, with the 2016 GBG potentially just over a week away. One slight concern is that CAMRA haven't debited my account with the £10 I was expecting as part of the Privilege Scheme to get it on the day of publication, and I don't want another two weeks of groping around in the dark (see my trip to Oxford last year).
Just when I thought I'd get West Yorkshire finished on Tuesday with a trip to Wetherby, Dad throws in a Rochdale shaped curve-ball and it looks like the New Adelphi Club in Hull is now the midweek tick. And this means that East Yorks will be finished first! Or will extra time and pens scupper it?
Next Saturday is my 'North of York' crawl, which will require a bit of careful planning but I am confident I can do the five that I want. Of course, there is always additional Cross Hills potential on Friday but I may leave this until Sept 4th to celebrate getting my work project done! But with it being that tricky BRAPA time of year with the GBG changeover, I'm not setting much in stone at the moment. Exciting times.